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Re: [TenTec] Lousy eHam review?

To: tentec@contesting.com
Subject: Re: [TenTec] Lousy eHam review?
From: Jerry Volpe <kg6tt@arrl.net>
Reply-to: kg6tt@arrl.net,Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment <tentec@contesting.com>
Date: Tue, 04 Jul 2006 10:41:14 -0700
List-post: <mailto:tentec@contesting.com>
It is too bad that the poster did not bother to try to explain himself.
And of course the '0' rating is a dead giveaway of someone who is having
a very bad day. :) However I think there is a tendency to 'circle the
wagons' whenever someone speaks out against the fold!

I don't think that there is anyone who actually knows me that could say
that I am not a Ten-Tec fan. I currently have and use twelve different
Ten-Tec transceivers and amplifiers in my shack and had my first Ten-Tec
well over 30 years ago. And I always enjoy an opportunity to 'share the
Ten-Tec' experience with others. It was rather amazing to see two very
experienced CW contesters at Field Day who had never seen a Ten-Tec
before. They were amazed at how well the Omni-IV+ worked... how
intuitive too. Fact is that there are probably hundreds of thousands of
hams in the US who have never actually seen a Ten-Tec in person. Shame.
Having said that, and getting back on topic, let me add my own
observations and experiences regarding the Jupiter and more importantly
perhaps some recent shifts in attitudes and abilities at Ten-Tec. Some
of my own 'Jupiter' experiences genuinely soured me a bit and have
actually kept me from investing in an Orion as yet.

1. I bought a new Jupiter a bit over two years ago and used it as my
primary rig for six months. Used it every day. Fought the RF demons et
al. There were aspects of the Jupiter that I did appreciate.
Nevertheless I had many dissatisfactions. Far too many for a rig that
cost me nearly $2000 delivered (ps, speaker, keypad, etc). So when
someone volunteered an even trade.... my Jupiter for their Omni-VI+ it
didn't take me long to say yes and I have never looked back! I LOVE the
Omni-VI+. It nicely fills the need in my shack for a serious DX and
contest machine. There is simply no comparison between it and the
Jupiter. Now of course Ten-Tec will be the first to say you can't
compare Apples and Oranges. Yet I say you can as the same money a ham
has to spend for the Jupiter will net them the Omni-VI+ (topic for a
different discussion).

In fact, of all the Ten-Tec rigs that I have owned then sold or traded
only two come to mind as non-regrets.... the Jupiter and its brother the
RX-350.  Never-the-less I would not give either a '0' rating, but
probably a '3' and feel comfortable doing so. Had Ten-Tec sold these for
about $400 less I would probably rate them a '4'. Remember, my opinion.

2. This part bothers me far more than the quirks of the Jupiter.... the
subtle but very apparent shift in attitudes at Ten-Tec these last years.
Technical support and development appears to be generally strong, yet
there is a sense that they are 'over tasked' and I think it shows at
times. In addition there appears to be a slow reduction of Ten-Tec
offerings as well. Inside information suggests that a key developer
responsible for the core of Ten-Tec's DSP technology left the company.
This had to have an impact. It did when I worked as an engineer at
Heathkit and someone with a unique skillset to a product development
left the company. It is also my sense that the Orion project seriously
depleted other Ten-Tec enterprises for the past perhaps three years,
maybe four.... and to me that is unfortunate. I guess for Orion and
Orion II owners though it only seems fair. I have my doubts though as
there are far larger markets that could be addressed more effectively.

Lastly there is a sense of marketing insincerity taking place at
Ten-Tec. Who writes their ad copy??? One only needs to look at the
Jupiter (and previous Pegasus) ads and the trumpeted statements like
"Never Gets Old...... New Updates"... blah, blah, blah. Yet those of us
who bought the RX-350 (which hasn't seen an update since 2002 and has
definite 'bugs'.... yes BUGs) only to be told that development ceased on
this product some time back yet the 'forward thinking' ads continue....
And the Pegasus?... And the Jupiter? Yes there was finally a mild
firmware update to the Jupiter earlier this year, but it was rather mild
and inconsequential overall. Oh let us not forget the original Orion
owners who would still like to finally benefit from the version 2
firmware work and have a genuinely stable and reliable Orion (1), but
there most certainly hasn't been a lock-step in development between the
two transceivers. Maybe this means nothing. Maybe it simply means that
there are limited resources and the lion's share goes to the darling of
the moment. Maybe it explains why so many Orion owners are dumping a one
or two year old transceiver to buy the newer version. My gosh! We have
become Icom!

Have a great Fourth of July!

Jerry, KG6TT
Fairfield, CA

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